Tommy Bowe has questioned whether Simon Zebo will be able to force his way back into the Ireland squad after returning to Munster.
Zebo got off to a perfect start in his second stint with Munster, as he scored two tries in the southern province’s 42-17 victory against the Sharks at Thomond Park.
The 31-year-old has stated his intention to win more caps for Ireland and also hopes to feature for his country in the 2023 Rugby World Cup, but missed out on selection in a recent 50-man training camp.
Former Ireland winger Bowe was speaking on BBC’s The Ulster Rugby Show and questioned whether Zebo will be able to force head coach Andy Farrell’s hand with the depth of talent in the back three.
Tommy Bowe on Simon Zebo’s Ireland chances.
“Listen, it was really good. It didn’t take him long to get o the scoresheet as well,” Bowe said of Zebo’s first game back in Munster colours.
“I think everyone in Irish rugby is happy to see Simon Zebo back on the pitch again. He just has this likeability about him. He plays with a smile on his face and he doesn’t get overawed by the big occasions.
“On those big occasions he can deliver as well. So it was no surprise that he scored after just a matter of minutes. But will he get back into the Irish set-up? That’s the reason he’s come back to Ireland again.
“He went well over in France but there’s a lot of competition in that back three. So it’s not going to be an easy one for him.”
— BBC SPORT NI (@BBCSPORTNI) September 29, 2021
Ireland’s options in the back three.
While Bowe does believe that Zebo will get an opportunity against one of Japan, New Zealand or Argentina this November, he stressed the wealth of options that Ireland currently have in the back three.
Jacob Stockdale, Hugo Keenan, Jordan Larmour and James Lowe have all announced themselves on the scene since Zebo last played for Ireland in 2017, while young winger Robert Baloucoune has also put his hand up recently.
Zebo also has plenty of competition at Munster, with experienced wingers Keith Earls and Andrew Conway also still very much in contention to start for Ireland.
Should Zebo continue his fine start to the season he will be hard to leave out, although he will have to excel in Munster’s upcoming games if he hopes to be selected ahead of someone that Farrell is more familiar with.